There is something very therapeutic for me about rising before anyone else in the house.  When the sun is still absent from the sky, but the beginnings of light are just beginning to peek over the horizon.  It's quiet, peaceful, and calm.  It's when I like to run, think, pray, and of course, enjoy a cup of coffee.  Some mornings I work out with friends where we enjoy each others company while sweating, and other mornings I head out solo to run around our boulevard.  I'm 21 weeks pregnant and still able to run a few miles, so I'm going for as long as my body, and baby, will let me!  Although my run is more of a waddle jog these days....

Laura, Jarod and Andrew were here this weekend.  Two green bellies equal two great tables for coffee!

Annie has be liking word searches lately. 

A nice, yummy breakfast after running.  I'll have one of these every morning, please. 

And as if I haven't been baking and eating enough lately, we decided to make a Sunday pie while the boys were golfing.  Peach pie.

A lovely Sunday indeed.  Nothing profound, just fun spending time with family.

And speaking of working out with friends in the mornings....
It was my dear friend, Kim's birthday this week.  It happened to be on one of the mornings that Janel, Mary, Laurie and I work out together on, and we got to be the first ones to celebrate her birthday...since it was like 5:30 in the morning. 

On this particular morning though, it was raining.  Let me restate that, it was pouring down buckets of rain and the thunder and lightning was the loudest I have EVER heard.  We met anyways, Kim has a covered area in her backyard that we work out in, so we thought we'd be just fine.  After five minutes, we all looked at each other after noticing the fountain of water streaming down the back of her covered patio, and we knew it was over. 

So instead of working out, we spent an hour sitting around her kitchen table, eating banana muffins with cream cheese frosting, and drinking coffee.  We sang happy birthday to her and I truly felt like I was ten years old again and at a friends birthday party.  The nostalgia of it all was priceless.  Soaking wet and sleepy eyed, we chatted the wee morning hour away. 

Happy birthday Kim!


Baking Bread with Bev

This was the first day that Thomas and Annie had a full day of school this week.  I forget how odd it is to have them gone all day for school.  It's so much more quiet around here.  Instead of dwelling on the fact that they are somewhere else, learning from someone else, I really want to use the school days to be present with George and Evie.  I'm wanting to spend more time reading to them, coloring with them, doing puzzles with them.  This morning, we got back on our Thursday bread making.  And lo and behold, I have another new bread maker....Bev.

She knew where to go to get an apron, she knew to grab a bar stool and pull it over to the kitchen island.  I took my time with her, let her stir, let her dump in the flour and counted one, two, three as she added ingredients....just like I remember with Annie.  I showed her how to tap on the back of the measuring spoon to make sure all the flour came out.  She was way too cute.  At one point I looked at her and noticed that she was humming as she was stirring. 

Then right from bread making she went to changing her baby over and over, Desitin and all.  Homemaking 101 today at our house.  What a wonderful mother she will make one day!


It's Time Again

So, here we are again, at the beginning of another school year.  Summer has come and gone.  We have swapped the suits and sandals for uniforms and and new tennis shoes.  Every year I swear they start school earlier than the year before.  Or is it just possible that time really does fly, especially when you are flying first class on the flight of raising young children.  Everything seems to go so fast with them, yet at the same time our days and our routine can go. very. slow.  I convince myself that we will never be out of this stage, whatever that stage may be.  Screaming children at Mass, picky eaters, more food on the floor than in their stomachs, waking up during the nights, wearing diapers, wetting the bed...you get the idea.  But the stages do pass, they do learn things you never thought they could when you are in the middle of struggling with it.  Nevertheless, staring another grade at school, always makes me a bit sad.  It's affirmation that they are indeed growing up and that it is all going too fast.
I wanted to make Sunday a little special for them, but really for me to remember that we did have fun and live up summer until the very last day.  In the afternoon Thomas and Annie helped to make a special dessert for after dinner.  Peach cobbler.  Oh, my.

I had planned a little scavenger hunt for them using clues from some of the things we did that summer. The garden, piano lessons, summer with the saints, swimming lessons, taking the boat out, camping trip, the books on tape we listened to, the Robin's nest we had in our hanging baskets....

It was fun to watch Bev run five steps behind them, only to catch up with them and watch them take off again. Poor thing.

At the end of the hunt they found a basket with squirt guns and some candy.  We then had a family squirt gun fight... simple, but fun. 

I wonder if they will remember these first days of school.  I must have a terrible memory because I can't recall any one of my first days of school.  I do remember my outfit I wore on my first day of first grade, but only because my mom took a picture of me standing outside in front of our house.

I hope they don't remember that we were late the first day of school.  I had good intentions of being early, mind you, but then Thomas and I went to confession at 6:30 at the Pink Sisters together before starting the new year.  It was a wonderful thing to do together, and I know he'll remember waking up early and driving in the dark to get there.  And I'm sure he'll remember that we stopped to get doughnuts on the way home, however, that made us late.  I hope they erase from their memory the fact that I had to just pull up to school, open the door and say, "good-by" have a great first day, Thomas help your sister find the second grade classroom..."  No pictures of them standing all shy like with their new classmates.  Just a get in there and good luck.  At least when we were at Mass I made sure to see both of them with their right teachers!  Monsignor gave a wonderful homily about the feast of the Queenship of Mary which was being celebrated in the church that day.  He spoke about Mary sharing in Jesus' crown of glory in heaven and that we too will have a crown of glory when we get to heaven.  My friend Lindsay posted about this a while back.  She had a brilliant idea of making this visual for her children by having them each get a crown to put a jewel on when they make a sacrifice, do something joyfully, or put others first. It was the perfect thing for us to do to celebrate the Queenship of Mary, as well as begin our school year really trying to focus on others and joyfully doing what someone asks of you.

We ended the day by making a crown cake for dessert.  Another reminder that our Blessed Mother is Queen of Heaven and Earth.

I wanted to make the kids their lunches this year instead of having them get hot lunch every day.  Throughout the summer some friends and I had brainstormed ideas of good, healthy, fun foods to pack in their lunches.  I had thought of making the kids cloth napkins but in lieu of my non-sewing skills, never got it done.  Until, I had a brilliant idea!  Why not ask my sister who had just spent four days entertaining my children, caring for her 16month old, and being 35 weeks pregnant....if she would make them for me.  Brilliant, I tell you.  She so willingly agreed to come to the fabric store with me, pick out different fabrics, and then stay up until 12:30am sewing them together.  I cut, while she sewed.  I love them.  I am so grateful to her for making them.  Thomas and Annie thought they were pretty cool, Thomas especially loving the Husker and fish prints!

There is a special little zipper in the front of their lunch boxes that I told them to check because you'll never know what you may find in there...A fun fact about rivers, a tiny bag of skittles, and special note with a star burst is my idea of giving them my special love when I can't physically be there at school with them.  A good friend of mine once told me that she prays to the Blessed Virgin every day she sends her children to school. She asks for Mary's motherly protection for her children since she can't be with them.  I thought that was a beautiful prayer and so I too pray, asking Mary to protect and love Thomas and Annie while I am not with them.

And so, we begin again.  A new school year. Many adventures to be had, I'm sure.


The Canning Queen

This is the second summer where my sister and her husband took Thomas and Annie back to their house to spend four days with them.  The kids have looked forward to the trip all summer.  And why shouldn't they....when they get to do lots of fun activities, stay up late, and play with their cousin.  When TJ and I got there on Thursday afternoon, we walked in to the kitchen to a beautiful sight.

The three of them were canning peaches.  Aprons and all.  They looked extra darling since I hadn't seen them in four days.

My sister is a master caner, in my book.  She has learned, along with a friend of hers, how to can practically anything.  She has had the privilege of watching and learning first hand from Jarod's grandmother, who is still living, how to make homemade salsa and can it.  We have canned together, along with my mom's guidance, strawberry jam after strawberry picking at Roca and have also done my grandma Glady's Russian Dill Pickles, also thanks to our mom showing us how the first few times.  But Laura has taken it to a new level...she cans cherries, apples, applesauce, pickles, jam, peaches, tomato soup, salsa, green beans, apple butter, and more.  And whats even better is that almost everything she cans is home grown from a garden or picked off a tree. 

So, while we were there, she helped me can some of our grandma's pickles to take home.  Eating some of hers that she had already canned made me crave them even more.  And whats even better is that Laura has all the right canning gear to make the canning experience way more pleasant.... way better than spooning with an over sized ladle hot, sticky, strawberry jam into a steaming jar that you are holding with a towel because you don't have the correct tool to handle the burning jar, while dripping the sticky, hot, mess down the jar since you neglected to buy a funnel....I'm just sayin'.  Some people do it that way...

35 weeks pregnant...

20 weeks pregnant....

The smell of dill sends my nostrils into a frenzy.  I LOVE dill.

And then, as if we hadn't been in the kitchen long enough, Laura suggests that we make home made salsa for dinner.  Of course.

My sister's kitchen ALWAYS has some fresh, just picked produce lying on the counter.  Between her own garden, her mother-in-law's garden, and her friend's garden, she always has something fresh to prepare.

I love that my children had so much fun with their aunt and uncle and cousin.  And I delight in the fact that we can send our children to their house and know that they are being taken such good care of.  Thank you Laura and Jarod, our children will always remember the days spent at your house!